Captain's log—lockdown week number 365,451-and-11teen. Spawled across the sectional, scrolling your social media feed, minding your business, drinking your water, and BAM!! Staring back at you—is a gorgeous family portrait, watermarked by a local celebrity photographer. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks? You had to do a double-take because your eyes must have deceived you. Is that really dude you curved back in 2002? No, no, no, no, no, no, can't be! Good-luck-Chuck was out here looking like A-List Chris. You swiped left, with your jaw locked open, and finally, you understand what it means to be 'shook.' Let's just say, if a picture painted 1,000 words, these googly-eyed, soft touched images were giving all the feels of a Hallmark Christmas! Sigh, so the yearbook was wrong? You guys were not most likely to end up together! Suddenly, you felt warm, and the...... "so what do I have to show for it?" blanket cocooned you snuggly, as you tried hard not to accidentally double-tap.
You shifted into stealth stalker mode, and as you perused this page, you realize, oh snap, he's celebrating an anniversary! Ten years! Say what? Have you been living under a rock? As much as you hate to admit it, the kids are actually cute, though you wouldn't have put them in those outfits—the colours did nothing for their skin tone! #lowkeyjealous
Who woulda thunk it? Whats-his-face actually turned out okay. Wow! He really accomplished all his pie in the sky dreams! Based on your thorough investigation (and screenshots to your BFF included) of his profile and corresponding wifey's page, they seem to have all the things you secretly desire. There you are, mean-mugging, yet trying to not seem salty as you text back and forth with your girl. "... I mean she's aight. Not his type, but I guess she could pass!" Doing your best to turn down the petty, so your envy wasn't so obvious.
Your stomach is doing summersaults as you think; this could have been your Facebook-E-True-Hollywood story! Instead, you opted to go with the community garden tool that knew how to dip and fall back better than 90's Patra. Arrrghhh! "Life is NOT fair," you scream inside. Be that as it may, you must also know that life is a series of decisions, and whatever YOU decide is what you'll get. This or that. Nice guy or thug. Spend or save. Need or want. Party or study. Right or wrong. Life or death. Instant satisfaction or delayed gratification. Every single thing you do all boils down to one thing or the other.
Every story has a Beginning, Middle & an End
Calm down, no, this is not my story. Although it very well could have been, that's neither here nor there. I will say I liked an amazingly sweet guy back in high school and dated him well into my early 20's. As lovely as he was then, an even now evolved me would have probably driven that poor man up the wall. So many times, we let our desires override the truth of what is right before us. We'd rather die trying to get that square peg to fit in a round hole than to walk away and admit defeat. Let's just say high school bae was my first realization in "Girl, you are quite replaceable!"
Even now, in the still of the most nights, as articles dance around in my head, so does the nagging question of, "what if?" That one question that plagues many and taunts us into believing we've missed some golden opportunity. I say, why not flip the script on that thinking? What if your moving out of position was the other person's opportunity to dodge a bullet? What if you acting a plump fool was their blessing in disguise? Sometimes, the benefit is for the antagonist (the villain of the story) and not the protagonist (the hero of the story). Sometimes, being the one that pulled the trigger is more detrimental than being shot. Either way, every so often, something good happens to people we don't think deserve it—even you. Let me free you of some ties that may have you bound: "Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we're proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be." —Graham Brown
If you could, for one moment, be honest with yourself, you full well know, at some point, you were the toxic one. And for the record, that doesn't make you discardable or unloveable. Let's say, for argument's sake, that Miss Confrontational me would have calmed her 'lil attitude down, and I did marry Mr. Nice Guy. I truly believe life would have been good, but I'd be living with more questions than answers somewhere in my mind. I would not be the 'me' I am at this juncture. In the grand scheme of things, that would be more of a tragedy than me not being married.
For every cause, there is an effect, and for every action, a reaction.
Finally, I can honestly say I like this 'me.' She's a really cool chick. A little lippy, but her heart is usually in the right place. She owns her crap and then finds ways to correct it. She takes reprimand without offence, and that shows she's matured. While life with 'good fellow' could have been safe and normal, it would mean I'd have no good stories to tell. I would not have been forced to dig deeper to find myself. Nor would I have ever fully understood that everything I was, was everything I'd ever needed to be exactly who I am. For me, coming into that truth was most essential in the process.
If you want the answer, ask the question
Okay, all fluff and clichés aside, one really could have missed an opportunity in life. The first step, as with everything, is to own that. With that said, take what could have been out of the equation and remove it from your sight. All you have is what is and what will be. So, the nice guy/love of your life has moved on. They hired someone else for the job; you have not been approved for the loan, and your pitch has been rejected for the twentieth time. Now what? How do you plow through all these roadblocks to make any sense of what to do next? Well, let me help you. I read a scripture the other day that helped me put my worry in a chokehold and caused it to tap out:
I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. (Ecc 9:11 NLT).
Ma'am, sir, know that whatever has escaped you, voluntary or not, does not mean you won't ever get an opportunity to have what you desire. Being without 'it' for a while longer is NOT the end of the world. No need you keep rehashing the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. It will not add any value to that which is behind you. And it won't speed up what is before you. What I need you to do is join the Elsa chorale and just "let it go!"
Learn to be comfortable knowing that it didn't work with the nice guy or gal. Stand back and appreciate the lesson of your disappointment. Don't waste time pining, when life is offering so many opportunities for 'living!' Take your eyes off what is behind and focus on what is ahead. I use to think the prayer of serenity was trite. But it is all-encompassing and a necessary awareness one should embrace. In case you need a reminder, repeat after me:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.